Obesity has a simple explanation – intake of more calories than needed by the body, coupled with a lack of sufficient activity. Childhood obesity is not only more dangerous than being overweight at later ages, but it is also harder to lose. Therefore the best course of action is to ensure that your child remains inappropriate health and weight and therefore embarks on a healthy future lifestyle.
Here are some important lessons to learn in order to ensure proper care for children’s diet and health.
Lead by example than by words
Children often take after their parents when it comes to eating patterns. Hence if you want your child to get proper nutrition and eat healthy foods, it’s your job to show these attributes in yourselves too. Furthermore, it is also the parent’s responsibility to keep the house and fridge free of harmful edibles including soft drinks, sugary treats or refrigerated or medicated food materials. It’s harder to stop little ones from opting for candies over salad if both options are available at snacking time.
Nutritious food is not enough
Replacing unhealthy food with healthy alternatives is only half the job. The other equally important half is to ensure the proper activity of the children. Incorporate at least sixty minutes of activity in their daily routine to make sure that they don’t get overweight and don’t fall victim to the lazy habit of sitting or lying down all day. Take them to community parks to explore playground equipment or bring home some playground structures so their physical activity continues as part of their daily routines.
Set a time table for eating
It doesn’t have to be strictly three meals per day. There should be time for snacking but make sure that your kids are not used to making any time of the day eating time. The human body, at any age, needs at least 2-3 hours for proper digestion of a meal. Make sure to keep a schedule for meals with optimum timely breaks in between.
Make mealtime family time
Experts over the years have concluded that children who sit at the table for meals with family are far less likely to overeat or graze all day, hence less likely to gain weight or become obese. Meal on the table also prevents the habit of eating while watching TV and losing the sense of portion sizes.
Don’t replace vegetables with bread
It is understandable if your children don’t like vegetables. They are mostly bland in taste and much less delicious than alternatives like cheese and sugars. But just to make sure that they are getting enough calories, do not replace the veggies with high starch or high-fat foods. Instead add condiments or seasonings to make vegetables taste more delectable, and try to serve varieties of vegetables rather than repeating the same over and over again.
Strictly restrict their drinks to water
It goes without saying how unhealthy soft drinks or fizzy drinks can be for a child’s health, even beyond the risk of obesity. Furthermore, all juices and shakes – even if fruit-based or milk-based – are high in sugar content and therefore not healthy for small children as a regular intake.
Treat them occasionally
Children deserve to be appreciated for eating their vegetables and staying away from unhealthy delicious junk food. Include some treats in their meal over days but do not let it become a regular part of their diet.
Keep their weight under check
Even if you are maintaining a healthy diet and activity pattern for your kids, make sure to regularly weigh them. Monitor their growth and weight simultaneously and take remedial actions at the first hint of unhealthy weight gain.